(ORDO NEWS) — To understand the origin of life, scientists study the properties of carbon and water. In the case of water, attention is focused on the various forms, or isotopes, that make up the water molecule of hydrogen and oxygen atoms throughout the history of the universe.
In a new study, an international team led by Jerome Aléon traced changes in the isotopic composition of water back to the formation of the solar system in the inner part, where the Earth and other terrestrial planets formed.
Scientists solved this problem by analyzing one of the oldest meteorites in the solar system using a new method developed specifically for this study.
The data obtained showed that in the first 200,000 years of the existence of our solar system, even before the appearance of the first embryos of the planets, two large gas reservoirs were present in it.
One of these reservoirs contained solar gas, from which all matter in our planetary system originated. With the help of this meteorite, for the first time, scientists were able to obtain quantitative data describing this fact.
The second gas reservoir was enriched with water vapor, which even then was characterized by an isotopic composition close to that of terrestrial water.
This second reservoir was formed by a powerful influx of water from interstellar space into the hot inner regions of the solar system during the collapse of a shell of interstellar space material and the formation of a protoplanetary disk.
The early presence of a gas with an isotopic composition similar to that of terrestrial water indicates that terrestrial water was already present at the site of planetary formation before the appearance of the first “blocks” from which they were subsequently assembled.
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